The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its isolation guidance on August 3, 2020, based on the latest science about the coronavirus and recovering from COVID-19. The information showed that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after a diagnosis and not be infectious to others.
Contrary to media reporting today, this science does not imply that a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the 3 months following an infection. The latest data simply suggests that retesting someone in the 3 months following initial infection is not necessary unless that person is exhibiting the symptoms of COVID-19 and the symptoms cannot be associated with another illness.
People with COVID-19 should be isolated for at least 10 days after symptom onset and until 24 hours after their fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications.
There have been more than 15 international and U.S.-based studies recently published looking at length of infection, duration of viral shed, asymptomatic spread, and risk of spread among various patient groups. Researchers have found that the amount of live virus in the nose and throat drops significantly soon after COVID-19 symptoms develop. Additionally, the duration of infectiousness in most people with COVID-19 is no longer than 10 days after symptoms begin and no longer than 20 days in people with severe illness or those who are severely immunocompromised.
The CDC will continue to closely monitor the evolving science for information that would warrant reconsideration of these recommendations.
Be vigilant for warning signs for COVID-19 that require emergency care. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
These are not all the possible symptoms. For any other symptoms that are severe or concerning, contact your medical provider.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.